Inherited painting nets retired owner over a million

2016-05-25 09:02
Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Sunflowers

Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Sunflowers (James Fox)

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Pietermaritzburg - A rare painting by Vladimir Tretchi­koff, which was recently discovered in Pietermaritzburg, was auctioned for more than R1,7 million.

Tretchikoff’s Sunflowers and paintings by Irma Stern and JH Pierneef were sold in a bidding frenzy as 350 prospective buyers and telephone bidders attended the auction in Johannesburg on Monday night.

Tretchikoff’s art work had been owned by a KwaZulu-Natal pensioner who had inherited it from a close relative.

The original owner purchased the painting directly from Tretchikoff for 500 guineas in 1959.

Tretchikoff’s art work enthralled the fine art specialists who had been evaluating and collecting artworks at the Tatham Art gallery in Pietermaritzburg in February. The Sunflowers painting attracted both national and international bidders during the auction run by Strauss and Company.

It went under the hammer for over R1.7 million against a presale estimate of R400 000 to R600 000.

The painting was sold to a undisclosed buyer.

Strauss and Co. Johannesburg manager Susie Goodman said Tretchikoff’s Sunflowers was the biggest surprise of the evening. “This exceptional work, which has never been on the market before, saw a heavy bidding from the audience and a very active telephonic bidders,” she said.

An amount of R42 million was achieved on the night of the auction, which was characterised by a packed auction room and a busy bank of telephones. The top lot of the auction, Irma Stern’s Portrait of Freda Feldman with Basuto Hat, was sold over telephone bid to an Austrian bidder for over R5 million. JH Pierneef’s Winter Bosveld became the second best, sold for over R1.8 million.

Contemporary art was snapped up by new and seasoned collectors alike.

Artists such as William Kentridge, Norman Catherine, Willem Boshoff, Pieter Hugo, Kudzanai Chiurai and Cameron Platter also performed exceptionally well.

The owner of the Tretchikoff painting, a 75-year-old woman who has requested anonymity, inherited the painting after the death of the former owners, who were close relatives.

She told the art auctioneers the sale of the painting by Tretchikoff himself to her relative was a remarkable tale in itself.

The pensioned owner told them the renowned immigrant from Russia had sold his painting to her relative, Richard Bann, in September 1959, when he stopped by at the Banns’ coffee shop en route to Johannesburg.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  art

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